Doing Dry January? There are plenty of ways to embrace sober London, from a simple walk to adult-only ball pools, fun fitness events, sociable spa trips and London’s sober rave scene…
Lead image: Catch up on some zzzs at Eve Sleep’s The Sleep Suite
1 Unleash Your Inner Child
The alarm’s set to go #BackToWork, your sleep routine is wrecked sleep, train fairs are through the roof and you’ve set yourself some unattainable New Year’s Resolutions. Adulting, come January, is harder than ever, so it’s no wonder that ‘kidult’ activities are on the rise. So forget about that Monday morning meeting or hideous commute and dive into a giant ball pit, have a sleepover in a museum or play your favourite board games in a bar. Here, The Resident seeks out London’s best activities for those who have decided they don’t want to grow up…
2 Check Out Re:Solutions at Juju’s Bar & Stage
If you are determined to stick to those health and fitness resolutions, head for Re:Solutions Festival at the Old Truman Brewery, running from 4-31 January 2018. This celebration of health and wellbeing features health and fitness gurus, conscious food concessions and mindful meditation, and is packed with events from the likes of Sunday Assembly, Soul Sisters Fitness from Adidas Studio, Swing Patrol and Sambroso Sambroso. Prices start at £25 for three classes, £42 for five classes and £90 for 10 classes.
15 Hanbury Street E1 6QR; jujusbarandstage.com
3 The Exorcist at Phoenix Theatre
Scaring yourself witless is surely the best way to shirk the woes of sobriety? Ian McKellen features in the West End premiere of The Exorcist as the voice of the Demon. When the medical profession fails to provide answers to young Regan’s strange symptoms, her desperate mother Chris turns to a local priest for help. But before Father Damien can tackle what’s before him, he must overcome his own shaken beliefs, as this fight is for more than just one girl’s soul… The stage adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s iconic best-selling novel made its London stage debut just before Halloween. Ages 18+. Tickets £15-£65. Showing until 10 March 2018.
Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road WC2H 0JP; atgtickets.com
4 Try Cold Water Swimming
‘Swimming is always a mind-altering experience,’ says Ella Foote of the Outdoor Swimming Society. ‘Once you have sunk into the water you are left alone with your thoughts and have time to process them. That is why swimming is so popular – the mental as well as physical benefits. In winter you get an extra zing! While standing on a river bank with frost between your toes might make you question your sanity, once in and tingling you cannot beat the feeling. It is euphoric. We can all agree that enjoying leisure outside is a huge benefit, why should it stop in winter? In fact, you could argue it is even more important – getting fresh air, being with nature and getting daylight is a great way to banish winter blues and bugs.’ Head for Brockwell Lido or Tooting Bec Lido, or go wild at Hampstead Ponds or the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
5 Enjoy a Sober Disco
Just because you don’t want any of the strong stuff doesn’t mean you can’t disco. As well as Morning Gloryville’s sober raves, which ballooned in popularity last year, Clubbercise runs a number of club-esque dance fitness classes across London. The dance regimes are fun and easy to follow, and it sure beats pounding the treadmill at the gym. Find classes at Finsbury Park Community Hub (Mondays from 7pm-8pm), to Slice Fitness in Parsons Green (Wednesdays from 7pm-7.45pm) and That Place in The Park in Deptford (Thursdays 7.30pm-8.30pm).
6 Try Booze-Free Cocktails
Some of London’s top bars are serving up booze-free cocktails this January and beyond. Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits, are available as alcohol substitutes at the likes of The Savoy, Dandelyan, Soho House, The Ledbury and berry Bros and Rudd. To ease the path to sobriety for you, Seedlip is even giving away 500 of the best Seedlip cocktails from some of London’s top bars throughout January. These bars include Cahoots, Nobu, Coya Mayfair, Blakes & Benares. Download a voucher from DrinkUP LDN to claim your free Seedlip cocktail from 4 January 2018. You could also had for Redemption’s booze-free bars in Notting Hill and Shoreditch to be sure temptation doesn’t get the better of you. They also serve up vegan, sugar-free, and wheat-free food. See redemptionbar.co.uk
7 Discover London’s Wildlife
The RSPB is encouraging people to swap the sofa for the outdoors this January with plenty of special events and guided walks. Try a stroll through Bushy Park on Sunday 7 January (9.30am, free to group members or a small donation from non-members, meet in the car park near the pond), the Brent Reservoir Nature Reserve Birdwalk, also on Sunday 7 January (10am, free, meet by bridge Cool Oak Lane, West Hendon NW9), or a walk across Hayes Common in Bromley on Sunday 14 January (9.30am until midday, free, meet outside Hayes train station).
See rspb.org.uk for further events
8 Get Walking
A big, blustery walk isn’t just for Boxing Day. Get some fresh air on one of The Resident’s recommended scenic walks in London. It’s the perfect chance to also check out London’s zoos and famous historical sites. From Hampstead Heath to the Royal Parks, we’ve picked out some of the best places for walks in London.
9 Enjoy a Social Spa Evening
Agua Bathhouse & Spa in the Mondrian London at Sea Containers on the South Bank hosts social spa evenings where you can relax and unwind with friends, inspired by the heritage and community spirit found in Roman spa culture. The next event takes place on Thursday 18 January 2018 from 6.30pm-9.30pm, and it’s a Lumiere Spa Social special. Enjoy exclusive use of agua Spa, with mudpacks, steam rooms and mini head massages, followed by a nourishing supper from Sea Containers restaurant before heading home with a travel-sized Natura Bissé Diamond Instant Glow kit. There are two limited-edition Lumiere cocktails included, too, but of course, you’ll be opting out of those… Tickets £90.
20 Upper Ground SE1 9PD; thecollection.sbe.com
10 Play Board Games
Love playing board games but want to get out of the house? Your luck is in then, as London’s original board game cafe, Draughts can give you just that. With over 500 games, you can waste the afternoon away with a healthy drink or some savoury snacks. There’s also Library Pot in Richmond, which has a similarly vast number of games to choose from. The cafe costs £5 to enter, but once you’re in you can stay as long as you like and there’s no obligation to order the food or drinks on offer. They have a ball pit, too.
11 Go Ape in the Tree Tops
Go Ape has opened a string of new outdoor and treetop adventure centres across London over the last couple of years. The newest venue is Alexandra Palace, which is also due to open Go Ape’s first free-fall activity in 2018 – thrill seekers need apply! The Battersea venue has more than 40 different crossings suitable for adults, including a 50-metre zip wire and another course for mini tarzans. There are also venues at Chessington and Cockfosters.
12 Try Andaz London Liverpool Street’s Wellness Experience
Luxury hotel Andaz London Liverpool Street has partnered with Psycle London to create a wellness experience running throughout January. The My Body is a Temple experience pairs a unique yoga session in the hotel’s hidden Masonic Temple with a vegan brunch and bottomless vegetable juice and smoothie options. The vegan menu, curated by Head Chef Sam Dunleavy and served at the hotel’s Eastway Brasserie, will feature dishes such as Avocado Garden (avocado, hummus, quinoa, pomegranate & micro salad) and Cauliflower Biryani (spiced cauliflower, baby carrots, peas, beans and coconut cream). Available from 10am on Sunday 14, 21 and 28 January, priced £45pp.
40 Liverpool Street EC2M 7QN. To book see designmynight.com
13 Get The Wellscene’s January Sweat Pass
St Martin’s Lane hotel has teamed up with The Wellscene to host sociable fitness events every Friday night in January. Se in the dark, with only black lights to illuminate the room, The Wellscene will be cranking up the music and donning UV face paints, glow sticks and lots of neon to host events such as Flow in the Dark Hip Hop Yoga (5 January), Sweat & Glow HIIT (12 January), Flow in the Dark Vinyasa Yoga (19 January) and Flow in the Dark Acro Yoga (26 January). 7-9pm. Get two classes for £37.50 and three classes for £50.
45 St. Martin’s Lane WC2N 4HX; thecollection.sbe.com
14 Head for London’s Sleep Suite
Add a good night’s sleep to your New Year’s resolutions as Eve Sleep introduces The Sleep Suite, a five-day hotel takeover celebrating sleep. The event is taking place in the De Montfort Suite at the Town Hall Hotel and Apartments in Bethnal Green from 29 January to 2 February. Book into a series of workshops, talks and panel discussions for tips from a network of trusted sleep experts, from mastering a morning brew with Allpress coffee to discovering the impact of food and nutrition on your slumber. Holistic sleep expert Christine Hansen will also be in residence to offer a one-to-one sleep consultation room service, while the Corner Room restaurant will serve an Eve Perfect Start brunch. Tickets range from free to £8.50.
8 Patriot Square, Bethnal Green E2 9NF; evemattress.co.uk
15 Check Out Club Soda
Still need a bit of extra inspiration to get through? Then check out Club Soda, a Mindful Drinking Movement that aims to create a welcoming world for non-drinkers. You can set your goals and track your progress, join the supportive online community and sign up for motivational emails.
how to make:
the perfect mocktail
Friends around for dinner? Ditch the sparkling water and treat your
booze-free friends to this marvellous mocktail…